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Need to Know: Last look—A tough task for the Redskins in Dallas

Need to Know: Last look—A tough task for the Redskins in Dallas

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 24, 10 days before the Washington Redskins play the Arizona Cardinals.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Cowboys 4:30 pm, FOX, Redskins Kickoff 3:30, CSN

Days until: Redskins @ Cardinals 10; Redskins @ Eagles 17; Panthers @ Redskins 25

Injuries of note
Out:
LS Sundberg (back)
Questionable: DE Chris Baker (hamstring/illness), WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Cowboys

Take it away: The Cowboys have been very sticky fingered all year long but particularly lately. They have just two turnovers in their last four games. A Cowboys takeaway is an ever more unusual occurrence; they have one in their last four games and none in their last three. In their last four games the Redskins have given the ball away four times and they have five takeaways. The Washington offense had no turnovers for the first time this year against the Packers. If the Redskins can keep their grip on the ball and perhaps force one or two takeaways on the Cowboys they will be in pretty good shape.

When you get it, keep it: The Dallas defense has faced just 600 plays this year, an average of 60 per game. Only two teams have faced fewer. Once teams do manage to get the ball after Zeke Elliott’s running and Dak Prescott’s short, accurate passes grind up the clock they move the ball fairly well. They average run 6.4 plays per drive (25th in the NFL) and 34.8 yards per drive (27th). The bottom line is that they allow an average of 1.92 points per drive, in the middle of the pack, 17th in the NFL. In these terms, they are an average to below average defense. The Redskins need to take advantage of that and put together long drives to keep the Dallas offense off the field.

Dez vs. Josh: A year ago, the Panthers thumped the Cowboys and Josh Norman, then with Carolina, helped hold Dez Bryant to two catches for 26 yards. Last September Bryan had a much better day, catching seven for 102. Norman did not follow Bryant from side to side in Week 2 until the fourth quarter in a classic case of locking the barn door after the horse had been stolen. Bryant dealt with injury and he has just 28 receptions on the year. But he has been heating up lately with a combined 12 receptions for 196 yards. Joe Barry should let the cornerbacks play sides to start out; Bashaud Breeland has had some success against Bryant in the past. But if Bryant starts to get on a roll Barry can’t hesitate to pull the trigger.

How will we like them after the game? This is the Redskins’ toughest assignment of the season and it really isn’t close. The Cowboys are on a roll, they are at home, and they are very confident. The Redskins also are hot and confident but they are dealing with a bad matchup. Their rushing defense is one area where the team continues to struggle. I don’t see them stopping, or even slowing down, Elliott running behind that Dallas offensive line. That will make it a tough go because even in a passing league it’s going to be a long day when the other team can run on you. I think the Redskins’ best chance will come if Norman can come through with a big takeaway, maybe a pick six. Since he has managed just one interception this year you can’t count on that happening.

Cowboys 30, Redskins 24

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Scott Turner won the Redskins offensive coordinator job over Kevin O'Connell, per source

Scott Turner won the Redskins offensive coordinator job over Kevin O'Connell, per source

There has been plenty of speculation as to why new Redskins head coach Ron Rivera decided to hire Scott Turner as offensive coordinator, and now a source tells NBC Sports Washington the answer is simple. 

Turner won the job competition. 

Many expected 2019 Redskins offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell to maintain his position when the team hired Rivera as their new head coach earlier this month. That didn't happen. 

As Rivera moved quickly to assemble his coaching staff, the biggest question seemed to be running the offense and working with second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Rivera interviewed O'Connell and Turner for the job, and asked to interview former Giants head coach Pat Shurmur. 

Shurmur declined the interview, and at that point, a source explained that Rivera then made his decision to go with Turner over O'Connell. 

So why Turner? 

Both candidates got their first experience calling plays last year after an in-season firing to the head coach. The results weren't great for either coach, but Turner's game plans involved more play action passing than O'Connell. 

Turner's resume working with Cam Newton and Teddy Bridgewater mattered, as did the plan Turner presented for working with Haskins. 

It's important to note that Rivera had years of experience working with Turner, as well as his father Norv Turner. That mattered too, and one source explained Rivera "believed" in Turner. 

While O'Connell landed in a strong spot as offensive coordinator for the Rams, he won't be calling plays. Coaches don't like giving up control, particularly offensive coaches giving up play calling. For O'Connell, maybe that will change in LA, but it will take time. 

Some Redskins fans have a bad habit of assuming the worst. That maybe Turner got the job because O'Connell passed on it. That's not the case, per multiple sources.

Ron Rivera wanted his guy, and that's why Turner got the job. 

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Report: Months after major leg injury, Reuben Foster regains feeling in toes

Report: Months after major leg injury, Reuben Foster regains feeling in toes

The Redskins signed linebacker Reuben Foster late in the 2018 season after his release from San Francisco amid domestic violence allegations. The signing caused tremendous backlash towards the organization, but in the end, it was supposed to be worth it for what Foster could do on the field. 

Eventually, charges against Foster got dropped and he wasn't suspended by the NFL. Unfortunately for him and for the Redskins, Foster got injured in his first snap of offseason team activities in May 2019, and it was a major injury. 

The scene on the field that day was traumatic as Foster was visibly in intense pain. In the news that emerged after the injury, Foster had torn multiple ligaments in his knee and NBC Sports Washington reported there was nerve damage in the leg as well. 

Now, it seems like there is finally some positive momentum for Foster's injury. His agent Malki Kawa spoke to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport: "He's got feeling in his toes, the underside of his foot, the side of his foot. The nerve is starting to fire again."

The alarming part here is that Foster had lost feeling in his toes, and for a long period of time too. Foster's injury happened last May. 

Rehabbing a knee is one thing, football players do that all the time. But nerves operate almost on their own, and some nerve damage is irreperable. 

"He's regaining feeling and power," Kawa said. "It shows the nerve is firing. When he moves his leg upward, he can feel around the ankle and the top part of the foot. That's a new thing. The next 60 days are going to be big as far as getting back to normal."

The Redskins know about scary nerve injuries. Promising rookie safety Kyshoen Jarrett sustained nerve damage in his arm in Week 17 of the 2015 season, and never played again. Two years ago, cornerback Quinton Dunbar dealt with a nerve issue in his leg and was basically lost for the year. 

What happens next for Foster will be interesting to watch. 

Kawa said the next 60 days will be important, and that timeline also coincides with more Redskins offseason work. After such a significant injury, it would be premature to make any assumptions about Foster's return to the field, and if/when that happens, his level of play. 

Foster has been seen around the Redskins training facility at times since he was signed in 2018. At various points he was using a scooter and then walking on his own with a significant brace.

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